Having received countless awards on domestic and international stages, 2023 was a year that confirmed Top Shelf International’s standing as a spirits company of exceptional quality.

Trent Fraser, Top Shelf International CEO, says: “Winning the IWSC 2023 Vodka Producer Trophy for Grainshaker in London was the standout moment.

“When we launched Grainshaker in the middle of the pandemic in 2020, never in a million years did we think just three years later we’d be hearing our name read out at the largest, most authoritative and competitive drinks competition on the planet, becoming the first Australian distiller to claim this award.”

And it doesn’t stop there.

“NED continued to go from strength to strength, with an expansion of its national retail footprint and the completion of the portfolio with super-premium and ultra-premium brand extensions.

“NED and Grainshaker still have significant room for growth. NED has developed a reputation for innovation and ingenuity in whisky, and the team has some exciting plans in development for 2024.”

All-Australian agave

2023 also saw the launch of Top Shelf International’s third brand, Act of Treason. Creating of a one-of-a-kind Australian agave spirit, Top Shelf International brings a new category not only to Australia, but to the world, and Fraser hopes Australia will become renowned for it.

“This project has been years in the making and has certainly thrown up its fair share of challenges along the way – creating a world class agave spirit in Australia has required innovation across agronomy, agtech, energy, distilling and engineering.”

With the first batch selling out in 24 hours, Fraser is confident about the future of the brand.

“Judging by the initial reaction to Act of Treason, the team up at the farm will be working flat-chat to meet what is an already incredible demand.

“Although it’s just the start of the journey, national retail ranging and on-premise partnerships with some of the country’s largest hospitality groups has us set for a big 2024. We are currently working overtime to service the demand that has been created. The response from customers and consumers has been incredible.

“Most important however, the spirit is exceptional. It has the hallmarks of agave but with a uniqueness that could only come from one place – the Whitsundays in the dry tropics of Norh Queensland.”

This article originally appeared in the 2024 Leaders Forum issue of National Liquor News.

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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